ASU men's and women's teams pose
(Photo: ASU men's golf coach Matt Thurmond)
SUGAR GROVE, Illinois (May 23, 2017) – Sophomore All-American Linnea Strom needed a wake-up call. After Stephanie Lau eagled hole No. 11, Strom’s lead was cut to one in match play and Northwestern looked to dig its self out of a hole they dug early with poor putting.
“I need a wake-up call sometimes to get going. After that, I felt like I had to do something right now.” Strom said.
Strom did just that, defeating Lau in each of the next three holes to secure Arizona State’s 8th national championship. Arizona State emerged victorious due to their strong overall performance winning 3-1-1.
Freshman Olivia Mehaffey of ASU faced Sarah Cho a junior from Northwestern as they started off the Championship at Rich Harvest Farms. The freshman dominated the matchup, never trailing. After 10 holes her lead was 5 strokes and she eventually came out on top winning by four with three to go.
Hannah Kim of Northwestern and Monica Vaughn of Arizona State University went next. Vaughn, the individual champion jumped out to an early lead winning the first hole but Kim fought back and after 10 holes Kim was up by three. Vaughn would not let her team down, roaring back to tie Kim on the 18th hole leading the competitions only tie.
“[I told myself] I am not going to let this team down, I had three bad holes and I am not going to give up,” Vaughn said. “It’s match play and anything can happen and I just went out this morning and fought till the end.”
Senior Kacie Komoto of Northwestern faced off against junior Sophia Zeeb. The senior did not disappoint, after dropping the first hole, Komoto never trailed again winning the matchup by three with two to go.
“I did not pause to think about it [being her last round as a Wildcat], I just saw the ball and tried to keep pushing forward.”
Sophomore Janet Mao of Northwestern and Roberta Liti faced off in the penultimate matchup of the championship. Starting off close, after three holes the two were tied but Liti pulled away and won the matchup by five with four to go.
Finally came Strom and Lau. Lau jumped out to an early lead and led Strom by one after two holes. Strom then fired back-to-back birdies and held her ground until the 11th hole where Lau got her eagle. If Lau did not build on the eagle quick she and Northwestern would be defeated before the 18th hole.
Just that happened, up four with four to go, Strom needed to win just one more hole to win ASU the national title. On the 15th hole, Lau putted for par and Strom stepped up. A mere four feet from the hole, Strom confidently stepped up and delivered. “I am so proud, that was hard fought this afternoon, there was not give up in out kids.” Northwestern head coach Emily Fletcher said. “They [the Wildcats] showed up and they were ready to play.”
“It has not been as easy a year as it looked from the outside, we have had a few ups and downs,” ASU head coach Missy Farr-Kaye said. “We have hung in together and I am so happy for them [the Sundevils] that they can be national champions for the rest of their lives. That to me is the coolest thing.”
And with that the women’s college golf season is finished, play will resume this fall for each school.
ABOUT THE NCAA Division I Women's Championship
24 teams and 12 individuals not on a qualifying
team make up the field for the championship of
Division I women's golf.
After 72 holes of stroke play, the individual
champion is crowned, and the low 8 teams advance
match play to determine the team champion.
View Complete Tournament Information